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India tour of England 2014: Shikhar Dhawan may be an innings away from getting back into form

Shikhar Dhawan continues to fail to convert good starts in England © Getty Images

Shikhar Dhawan has struggled on the ongoing tour to England and it is one of the few worries for India in one-day cricket. Dhawan hasn’t been able to convert his starts for some time and needs that one innings to get back into the dominating rhythm, writes Nishad Pai Vaidya.

There was a radical change of guard in the Indian ranks in 2013.The pillars of the 2011 World Cup victory — Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Sachin Tendulkar — were no longer a part of the setup when a young side went into the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. But, one man set the tone for the new era with some breathtaking performances. Smashing the bowlers to all parts of the ground, twirling his moustache in an endearing macho way, Shikhar Dhawan won hearts with his breathtaking displays with the bat. Dhawan walked away with the Man of the Tournament award as India lifted the trophy. A year down the line, the same man faces a testing time in the Old Blighty.

Dhawan has had a tough tour to England so far. There have been times where he has struggled. The England bowlers have pitched it around that corridor of uncertainty and have also bowled short to trouble him early in his innings. Then there have been moments where he has looked in good touch, but has invariably thrown it away in the process of forcing the issue. Though he was dropped from the playing eleven mid-way through the Test series, the story is entirely different in ODIs. India need Dhawan’s touch at the top and would pray he comes good soon.

Since Dhawan’s last ODI ton, it has been a tough ride for him in the format. He scored a ton in India’s last ODI at home in late 2013 against the West Indies. Since then, India have toured South Africa, New Zealand and then England. Even during the ICC World T20 2014 in Bangladesh, Dhawan failed to impose himself and was dropped from the eleven after three games. It isn’t so much about poor form in ODIs, as much as it is about converting starts. Here is Dhawan’s record in ODIs since the tour to South Africa:













Dhawan has had two fifties in the same interval, both coming during Asia Cup 2014. Against Sri Lanka he scored 94 and was then unbeaten on 60 against Afghanistan. Apart from that, there have been quite a few starts and he has failed to make them count. When compared to his career statistics, this table reveals an obvious slump. He averages over 40 and his strike-rate is 88.75. A pertinent point is that this is a very short sample space andit won’t be fair to judge him.

What has troubled Dhawan though, is that this struggle has stretched across formats. As discussed earlier, he lost his spots in the Test and the T20 line-ups. In ODIs, he is a certainty for now and with Rohit Sharma out injured, his role only gets more important. The bowlers seem to have found a way to tie him down by bowling to those testing areas. Dhawan has to work his way out of this slump and bounce back, for India need his punch at the top going into the 2015 World Cup. He may well be an innings away from getting it all back.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

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